Opposition encouraged by "new" spirit of collaboration shown by Government


Shadow Minister of Justice Donna Scott Mottley has declared that she's encouraged by the Government's new collaborative approach in revising the Emergency Powers regulations for St Catherine.

On Tuesday the government announced it had decided against asking for an extension of  the state of  emergency in St Catherine as it seeks to refine the regulations to be used in future measures.

Mrs Scott Mottley told Radio Jamaica News that the discussions over the last few days between the Opposition and Government in relation to the revisions were productive and “encouraged me that there were times when both Government and Opposition would both work together for the good of the country; it felt that way.”

In that spirit, she expressed desire that “even for a period, we could set aside the fact that we are adversaries and just work together to find the best measures that can provide a sense of safety and security to the country, while respecting the rights of others.”

According to Senator Scott Mottley, the parties tried to have the Emergency Powers regulations for St Catherine amended for tabling during Tueday's sitting of the House of  Representatives, but there was not enough time to make all the changes.

She disclosed that the opposition raised about 15 points of concern most of which were accepted by the government.

Principal among these concerns was that related to taking the fingerprinting of detainees who had not been charged with any offence, “and the permanent preservation of their fingerprints after they had been released.”

This, she said, was in contravention of the Constitution, “and the privacy rights which were guaranteed.”

As a result of those discussions, she said, there was an agreement that “the fingerprints and DNA specimens were going to be taken in accordance with the respective laws.”

Given the spirit of collaboration which attended these discussions, Senator Scott Mottley expressed hope that the government will similarly adopt a collaborative approach to the new Bail Act which is to be brought to parliament soon.

Crime-fighting strategy

The Senator also said the Opposition is now convinced that the security forces have a crime-fighting strategy.
That conviction emerged from a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet on Monday, which Police Commissioner Antony Anderson attended, she explained.
She said the Commissioner was accompanied by five members of his security team, and that they "explained to us what was happening generally in the country, and more specifically, in the country."
Describing the information shared as "illuminating, sometimes quite chilling," she said it also "reassured us that the security forces did have a strategy."



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